Over a number of meetings Jeroen Lutters and Mieke Bal engaged in a conversation on the art of teaching. Looking for a dialogue that would also touch on the role of visual art, Lutters brought in paintings by Banksy, Rembrandt, Marlene Dumas, and George Deem as ‘teaching objects’—one for each conversation. He asked Mieke Bal what these paintings might have to say about teaching. The result is this publication: it is a personal, meandering, and precise account of Mieke Bal’s way of thinking through visual art and literature, and how she exchanges her ideas about this with students and colleagues. This text makes clear how objects can speak, how they are thought-images; how we can use them, how they teach us to find answers to important questions, just by looking, listening, reading, in the triangle of student, teacher and teaching object.
The Trade of the Teacher will hopefully serve as a source of inspiration to students and teachers—especially in the arts and the humanities—who are longing for a counter-voice in a complex educational arena.
Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic, video artist and occasional curator, with a long history of teaching in the arts and the humanities. She works on gender, migratory culture, psychoanalysis, and the critique of capitalism. She has published 38 books, including A Mieke Bal Reader (2006), Quoting Caravaggio (1999) and Narratology (1985), that has been reprinted, revised and translated numerous times.
Jeroen Lutters is an art and cultural analyst and educational designer. He concentrates on the central role of the arts and humanities in the contemporary curriculum, the need for artist educators as wandering teachers and the theory and practice of art-based learning. He is a professor at ArtEZ, University of the Arts.